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Today, U.S. Congressman Harold “Hal” Rogers (KY-05) voted in favor of H.R. 3408, the Protecting Investment in Oil Shale the Next Generation of Environmental, Energy, and Resource Security (PIONEERS) Act, which would push forward the development of oil shale and increase development of our country’s vast oil and natural gas reserves. The PIONEER Act also includes a provision to accelerate construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline, which would further enhance America’s jobs outlook and energy security.  The House passed H.R. 3408 today 237-187.

“Coming from a coal mining and growing natural gas region, I have seen firsthand how the Obama Administration has sought to lock up our country’s vast energy reserves at every opportunity – causing electricity and gas prices to shoot up and threatening our country’s energy security,” stated Rogers. “At a time when we need jobs more than ever, the PIONEER Act opens up access to one of our most promising new sources of American-made energy – oil shale – and ends the senseless, job-stifling moratoria on oil and gas drilling along the Outer Continental Shelf.  In addition, this bill will speed up construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, which will ensure that low-cost oil flows into the U.S. We simply cannot afford to remain beholden to unfriendly foreign regimes in the Middle East when we have North American resources and workers.”

Oil shale is rock that can be heated and used to extract materials that produce synthetic crude oil. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the U.S. holds more than half of the world’s oil shale resources, more than 1.5 trillion barrels of oil. This is six times the amount of Saudi Arabia’s proven resources, and is enough oil to provide the United States with energy for the next 200 years. While the Obama Administration has thrown up significant roadblocks to developing this promising resource, the PIONEERS Act would allow U.S. companies to develop oil shale. H.R. 3408 also opens up much of our Outer Continental Shelf to oil and natural gas exploration, as well as segments amounting to less than 3% of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuse (ANWR) in Alaska. The Department of Interior estimates that the Outer Continental Shelf contains 86 billion barrels of oil and 420 trillion cubic feet of natural gas in unexplored fields that could power our country for hundreds of years. The legislation encourages the use of domestic workers and equipment in all construction related to energy and mineral development.

H.R. 3408 would also expedite construction of the Keystone XL pipeline. Despite overwhelming bipartisan support from organized labor, thousands of local and state businesses, mayors and Americans from all across the country for this critical jobs project, the Obama Administration has bowed to extreme environmentalists in rejecting the initial permit application for the pipeline. After more than three years of exhaustive environmental and economic reviews, the PIONEERS Act would move the project closer to completion, by requiring that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission make a final decision on a permit within thirty days.

The PIONEERS Act is an important component of the House Republicans’ jobs agenda aimed at getting Americans back to work and our economy back on track. Rogers has supported twenty-seven bills focused on removing Washington’s red tape, renewing confidence in our economy, and creating jobs at home. None of them has been given due consideration by the U.S. Senate.

Rogers has served Kentucky’s 5th Congressional District since 1981. With a focus on economic development, job creation, fighting illegal drugs and preserving Appalachia’s natural treasures, he has a reputation for listening to his constituents and fighting for the region he represents.  For more information, visit